CEO Search


The Sawtooth Mountain Clinic in Grand Marais, Minnesota is seeking a Chief Executive Officer.

Sawtooth Mountain Clinic (SMC) is a private, not-for-profit, community based, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) located in Grand Marais, Minnesota. We are pleased to announce an exciting opportunity to lead a stable but innovative community health center dedicated to helping ALL the people of Cook County, Minnesota, the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and our visitors live healthier lives.

The Sawtooth Mountain Clinic has been a FQHC for 40 years and our current CEO, Rita Plourde, is retiring after 37 years of inspiring service. With the strong core of physicians and staff providing high quality healthcare, a supportive network of regional, state and national organizations and the respect of our community, SMC offers the right candidate the opportunity to assure the continued growth and relevance of this community-critical organization in the future.

SMC is the sole provider of primary care physicians for Cook County, Minnesota and the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.  The practice has 6 Physicians, 1 Nurse Practitioner, 2 Behavioral Health Specialists, and a 40-member staff.  Community health programs include WIC, maternal and child health, oral health, and community health education.  SMC is governed by a 15-member Board of Directors representing the various communities within this area.  SMC has an annual budget of $6 million.

Grand Marais, Minnesota, the home of SMC, was voted “America’s Coolest Small Town” by Budget Travel Magazine. Located on the spectacular North Shore of Lake Superior, Grand Marais boasts a strong music and arts community.  Cook County, Minnesota is well-known for its access to recreational opportunities.  Here you will find the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), the Superior National Forest and associated hiking trails, resorts, fishing, hunting, camping, canoeing, golf, snowmobiling, downhill and cross-country skiing and a YMCA.

The CEO, reporting to the Board of Directors, must: 

  • Be dedicated to the mission and core values of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic
  • Be responsible for the overall leadership, daily operation and performance of the organization guided by and in compliance with:
    • SMC’s mission and core values
    • Federal regulations and the HRSA-approved scope of project
    • The standards of medical practice set forth by the physician staff and federal and state law
    • Bylaws, strategic goals and policies set forth by the Board of Directors
    • SMC performance standards and accountability
  • Represent SMC in the community and interact professionally and communicate adeptly with external customers, funding sources, the media and other organizations, agencies, and government entities (local, state, and national)


  • Master’s degree in healthcare or a business-related field, or equivalent years of experience
  • Proven experience in an executive management role with a strong understanding of not-for-profit finance
  • Strong collaborative/networking skills
  • Knowledge of health center operations
  • Knowledge of FQHC program requirements
  • Experience in a federally regulated industry
  • Ability/experience in identifying and securing private and public funding
  • Excellent grant writing skills

The Board of Directors and the staff of SMC are looking for someone who is willing to learn and grow with us. We are a collaborative, motivated group of professionals responsive to the constantly changing healthcare environment, to the needs of our community, and to one another.  SMC will continue to thrive with leadership who listens and learns from our physicians/providers/staff, our community healthcare partners, our colleagues in federally qualified community health centers, our legislators and our regulators.  We expect that the best leader for us is the individual who can gather all of this input, on a continuing basis and with an informed understanding of their differing perspectives/opinions, to provide leadership in support of our mission and values. 

The ideal candidate will be able to sustain our high quality of healthcare, maintain and build collaborative relationships, assure workforce recruitment and retention, and be a strong advocate for our community health center on the local, state, and national levels. 


Compensation is commensurate with experience.


Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter of introduction and resume and/or any other inquiries to Carol DeSain, Board President  The application process is confidential.

Visit for more information about this position and our clinic.  SMC is an equal opportunity employer.